Working with organizations in New Mexico and West Texas means lots of windshield time, and last week I found myself contemplating the question: “What is the biggest cardinal sin a non-profit executive director can commit?” In the final analysis, my conclusion surprised me, which means it was destined to end up here on the DonorDreams blog for you to chew on and contemplate.
In the time you’ve read the first paragraph, your mind already probably started spinning and there are so many good possibilities to choose from, right? Here are just a few examples:
- letting the agency’s fundraising program die on the vine
- not fostering an organization culture of planning
- not being transparent
- treating donors like an ATM
- hiring bad staff
- misuse of funds
I could go on and on. You probably already have many more examples to share (and I encourage you to do so in the comment box below).
As for my number one answer that I finally settled on?
Not understanding, building and supporting a good board development process.
There is a lot that goes into this sweeping generalization. Here are just a few examples:
- Allowing board prospects to be targeted without any consideration of expectations and necessary skill sets
- Recruiting prospects without helping them see what they are saying ‘YES’ to doing
- Failing to develop an annual evaluation and recognition process for board volunteers
- Failing to provide orientation and ongoing board training
I could provide more examples, but I think you get the idea.
The reason this turned out to be my number one answer is because this cardinal sin provides the fertile ground for all of the other sins I listed at the start of this post.
For example, it is the existence of a weak and unsupported board that creates the conditions for embezzlement or misuse of funds.
Please use the comment box below to share your idea of the biggest cardinal sin and why. Also offer a solution while you’re at it. 😉
Here’s to your health!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC